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donniej

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I'm making minimum 5 gallon batches from my BioDiesel glycerin and hope to start selling some of my soap in the near future. However this scale presents some challenges due to it's size. For example, this past weekend I made 15 gallons which is now curing in slabs. Casting into bars, scenting and packaging are all a little more difficult when you have several hundred bars at a time.

It is my goal to make a high quality glycerin soap that I can sell at an extremely low price (to benefit the community). To do this requires both inexpensive materials and as little of my time as possible, but not at the sacrifice of quality.

So far I have the following ideas, some I'm already using, others I'll be using very soon.

To make the soap I fill up 5 gallon buckets that have graduations on the side. This allows quick and easy measurements. In a separate bucket I mix up the water and lye. The glycerin is heated in the bucket with a bucket heater which is made to heat water in plastic buckets (for animals to drink out of). When the glycerin is hot I mix in the lye/water with a paint stirrer power by an electric drill.

After it hits trace I dump it into 5 gallon "cubies" which I've cut in half, top to bottom. Cubies are disposable plastic jugs restaurants get there oil in. You can pull them out of the dumpster of any restaurant. After the soap has hardened you can simply flip the cubie-molds over and the soap slab falls right out.

From there it can be cut into square bars with either a butter knife or a wooden frame with thin steel wires forming a grid. Simply push the wires through the slab to instantly carve out your bars. The soap can also be re-melted and poured into 2" PVC tubing, allowed to harden and then pushed out from one side. Then cut it to any thickness you like, giving you 2" round bars.

For packaging I'd like to get the PVC heat shrink tubing. Use thick paper on the top and bottom to act as both a label and as a media to absorb any "sweat". Apply the paper to the top and bottom, slip over the shirnk tubing and quickly heat. Done.

My glycerin is free and lye is cheap from buying in bulk ($2.50 per pound). The packing materials are also relatively inexpensive... however scents are expensive and I'm not willing to compromise on there quality. This has me thinking about making my own. My first idea is to stop at the local florists and see if I can buy (for cheap) they're old flowers they're going to throw out. Hopefully I can make a tea out of them and use that instead of water. I do worry however that the lye will destroy the scents. Alternatively, I could cook down the tea until it's super concentrated and add it after trace.

Finally, I'd also like to make the bars a little more firm, to please the mass market. I plan on experimenting with adding a few percent crisco at trace. I'll probably also try stearic acid and beeswax, assuming none of them are cost prohibitive.

In the end, I hope to be able to sell for $.50 per bar.
 

jadiebugs1

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Wow! Sounds like you got it all well planned out! Got any pics of your process so far? I'd like to see what your talking about because honestly....a lot of it went right over my head! :oops:
 

beachgurl

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Very well thought out :) What a great deal for some awesome soap!
 

Deda

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Just a thought, but with that volume have you tried a wholesale fragrance lab?

I've bought tons of 4, 8 & 16 oz bottles from all over, but when if you find a keeper you know you are going to be using again and again you can go trough a lab and have that scent made for you. The catch is that you don't get a deal until you reach 25lbs. But you can switch it up. 1lb of 25 different ones, or whatever combo you like. The price is usually less than half of what you would spend elsewhere.

The lab will also custom mix scents just for you.
 

donniej

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Here's some pics to show you what I'm doing now. It's going to be a while before I run off another batch of biodiesel & glycerin but I'll try to get you some pics of that in the future.

My wonderful girlfriend (Laura) is a wood worker so she made me this drying rack. It has wooden framed shelves that come out and are only fiberglass screen on the bottom. The screen allows maximum air flow all around. Fiberglass is inert to lye, which is why we used it instead of metal.



Here's one of the shelves with a cake of soap on it. This one cake is about a gallon of soap. It's only about a week old so the color will lighten a little more. It is black when you first pour it. The cake gets this shape from the 35 pound (5 gallon) cubie that the restuarants get there oil in. I collect the used oil in them so I have plenty laying around. I cut them top to bottom and use the halves as molds.



After the soap has cured long enough to not be harsh with the "tounge test" I cut it into bars and either give them like that or melt them down and cast them with the molds. There's probably ~50 bars wrapped in sandwhich bags in the box.



The lather is good and it cleans *great* while still being moisturizing on the skin.



This is one of the buckets. You can see it was full to 14 liters before I added the lye/water. I ran out of space so the bucket is still full. On top is another bucket which I pulled the hardening soap out of and layed it on its side.



Finally here's a pic of my veg and bio processing equipment. The 2 red drums are for filtering down to 5 micron and removing water. The insulated drum is the biodiesel processor.

 

digit

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Wow, I still amaze myself with a 3# batch.

Digit
 

Sudsy Bubbles

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Man... are you ever creative and thrifty! Did you learn how to do all this by trial and error?

Sudsy Bubbles
 

donniej

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Thanks folks!
When I got into biodiesel I wasn't reall yinterested in making soap... but I had too much glycerin to throw away so I had to do something with it :D
But it's turned into a fun hobby and I've been surprised how interested people are when I talk about it.

Since I originally started doing this out of necessity (to dispose of the glycerin), thrift and labor has always been high on the list. This should lend well to keeping the sale price down.

I did buy the soap making guide but most of it was tiral and error.
 

IanT

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how did you get into making biodiesel? I want to try that soo bad! :)
 

donniej

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IanT said:
how did you get into making biodiesel? I want to try that soo bad! :)
About 4 yers ago a friend of mine started running his truck of straight, used cooking oil. I was intrigued so I started looking into it. Quickly there after I was running my (Diesel) car off veg with a conversion kit from Greasecar.

Meanwhile I played with brewing small batches of bioDiesel but since most of my fuel was straight veg, I never thought about increasing production to a useful level. Then one day about a year ago I decided to start processing. I did the research, built a processor and starting cooking it up 8)

If you want to start making your own, feel free to PM me. I'll be happy to help you figure it out.
 

mandolyn

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Where's the lather? All the biodiesel soap I see is really skimpy on lather!
 

Tabitha

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I have been using some awesome bio soap from http://www.thebrownsoapcompany.com/. My fav is the warm vanilla sugar with shea butter & oats. I don't notice the lather being skimpy. Lather is a by product anyway, it's not needed to cleanse or moisturize.
 

mandolyn

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Tabitha said:
I have been using some awesome bio soap from http://www.thebrownsoapcompany.com/. My fav is the warm vanilla sugar with shea butter & oats. I don't notice the lather being skimpy. Lather is a by product anyway, it's not needed to cleanse or moisturize.
True about the lather, but I like lots of bubble. I've heard that it's very cleansing & cuts grease well. Is it at all drying, although it shouldn't be will all the glycerin.
 

Tabitha

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I don't find it to be drying. It is silky smooth when you pass it over the skin too. Just the straight bio soap I find to be too soft, but w/ an additive like shea it's right up my alley. Honestly I couldn't tell you what type of lather it has, I have used it every night for about 4 weeks & don't remember, so it must be about average.
 

knicelyr

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Great job Donniej!!!

As Tabitha says -- lather is really a mindset. The soap cleans just as well with or without lather. Soft or hard.

However,
I had a great deal of trouble convincing anyone around me to use it like that -- so I started to use traditional ingredients and techniques to add properties to my Biodiesel Glycerin Soaps.

Our biodiesel glycerin is already "soap" it's about 40% soap and 60% glycerin. And has what I like to call "saponifiable elements". You can think of it as a "bad" batch of soap. One that is under saponified, unbalanced and maybe too rich in glycerin.

Now I have bars that are hard as any store bought or traditional bars and lather just as well as non-biodiesel soaps. I've also combated the tendency to sweat by using a technique I call "glycerin negation". This allows us to keep the soap glycerin rich but just under the sweating threshold.

I have liquids that are just as thick and lathering as any store bought liquid soap or shampoo.

Right now I am working on a laundry soap that dissolves as quickly as you would expect for a laundry soap.

I have taken care to be sure that anything I use to add the properties is green and as natural as possible.




 

knicelyr

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Thank you LJA,

Many actually don't believe they started out life as our Biodiesel Glycerin!

The soaps are shiny because of the way I process the biodiesel glycerin to add hardness and lather. I add fatty acids to the soap this also performs "glycerin negation" to keep my bars from sweating.

I add more fatty acids than you normally see with traditional soap making but our biodiesel glycerin, for the most part, is very very soft. The amount I use would most likely cause a CP batch to seize. I hot process at about 180*F and sometimes add sodium lactate to keep things pourable. The sodium lactate also helps harden the soap.
 

gekko62

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This post is a bit old,but I just have to say....You biodeisel/soap guys absolutely amaze & intrigue me! Perhaps it's coming to the soap-making process via biodeisel making,which seems to require a more technical/scientific outlook(well in the opinion of this non-techie anyhoo!) You offer insights & explainations that wouldn't even occur to me,& for that I say a big 'Thankyou!'. Sometimes just looking at something from a slightly different angle makes a world of difference! :) :)
 

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